AP, By Ken Thomas, June 25
St. Louis — Democrats on Friday voted down an amendment to the party’s platform that would have opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, avoiding an awkward scenario that would have put its statement of values at odds with President Barack Obama.
Members of a Democratic National Convention drafting committee defeated a proposal led by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., that would have added language rejecting the Pacific Rim trade pact, which has been opposed by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
The panel, which is developing the party’s platform ahead of next month’s Philadelphia convention, instead backed a measure that said “there are a diversity of views in the party” on the TPP and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal “must protect workers and the environment.”
Allies of Clinton and Sanders pored over the 15,000-word draft of the platform at a St. Louis hotel. It was the result of late nights and long hours of policy exchanges between the two campaigns and the Democratic National Committee, reflecting both the party’s divisions and areas of consensus.
In some cases Clinton’s side gave ground to Sanders. The panel approved language calling for the abolition of the death penalty, calling it “a cruel and unusual form of punishment which has no place” in the nation. Clinton said during a debate earlier this year that it should only be used in limited cases involving “heinous crimes,” while Sanders said the government should not use capital punishment.
Reflecting Sanders’ advocacy, the platform also calls for the expansion of Social Security and says Americans should earn at least a $15 an hour, referring to the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour as a “starvation wage,” a phrase the Vermont senator often uses. Sanders has pushed for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, while Clinton has supported efforts to raise the minimum wage to that level but has said states and cities should raise the bar as high as possible.
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